Monday, April 3, 2017

Sixty Five Weeks

Hello Everyone!

Well this has been a very interesting week. More so than the usual, that is.

First of all, with the normal missionary stuff:

This last weekend was general conference instead of just normal church meetings, and so we were able to go and watch it both on Saturday and on Sunday. On Saturday, the first session started at 1:00 and so we were able to have lunch with a member just before at 11:30. Well, it just so happened to be one of the tastiest lunches I have eaten since being here. It was asado (Argentine grilling) and it was super well done. In asado, you cook the meat with just the embers of a wood fire you have going on the side, and so it comes out super super juicy and tasty, and often you eat it on a wooden tablero instead of just a normal plate. I included a picture of it, and all the juices that you see on the tablero were just juices that came from the meat. Yum.

Saturday for the afternoon too then, one of our investigators, Cristian (15 years old) came, but not just by himself. Rather he brought along his sister and one of his cousins with him too, which is awesome. It was the first time that we were actually able to talk with his sister, because normally she is super shy and every time that we go over to visit with Cristian, she goes to her room and isn't there to listen with us. I'm super excited though, because we are going to visit with all of them tonight, as well as Cristian's cousin, Fabian, that has been going to church with him well over a month now (and who is also going to bring his sister that we have never visited with before). It is super awesome though, and it's really cool to be able to help so many teenagers that are living in or near a villa that are really great kids and are stretching for something more in their lives. 

For general conference then, you normally go to the stake center (a larger meeting house where they broadcast it to) instead of just your normal meeting house, and since my last area is in the same stake, I was able to come across Diego again! I'm not sure if you all remember, but Diego is the older man from Uruguay that Elder Dosdall and I found and were teaching a good while that made huge changes in his life as he started living the gospel. He's still not baptized, but he is doing super good and I was super happy to see him (and him me :D ). It was definitely one of the highlights of this week. 

As far as office stuff goes:

This week has been crazy - I have had a ton of stuff to do all week and on top of it all, the mission was going through trainings and so I had to go and help out with that one day, which cut a day off of the time that I had in the office. On another day too then, Elder Venecia (the office Elder that is in charge of all the apartments) had to take a new contract all the way to Chacabuco (about 2-3 hours west of the offices in car) to drop off in order to be able to open a new apartment there. Since he doesn't drive, I got to be the one to go there with him. It was super fun, and it was super rural, with nothing but huge open fields for a good part of the drive. Chacabuco itself though reminded me a lot of my first area. It had a main plaza just like Chivilcoy, with statues and everything, and so I have included pictures of that trip as well. We left at 9 in the morning and got back around 6 (we had to make a couple other stops as well). We used a full tank of gas though, and put between 400 and 500 kilometers more on the car haha.

Another super crazy thing then is that we are going to be changing cell service providers as a mission, and so the man that is our connection to those cell service providers sent an email to every single mission in Argentina (about 14 of them) since they all too wanted to make the change, asking for a list of the numbers that we use in the mission as well as a few other bits of information, and then at the end of the email he put in big bold letters and highlighted "The first mission that provides me with that information in the format asked for will be the first to change, and all the others will follow in the order that I receive them." The email arrived at 12:37. We responded at 1:14. We were hoping to be first because we are currently going through some decently big problems with the service we are using and so we were pretty excited when about half an hour later he sent us an email saying that we were the first to get him the information asked for, and so we will be the first to change. I was pretty excited and pretty happy, but now 130 sim cards arrived this morning, and so it kind of hit me how much of a headache that ought to be to get them all activated with a number and sent out haha. We'll see how that goes this week.

Other than that though, not all that much new. Still loving life and enjoying being a missionary. Hope you all are doing good though, and so have a great week!
Elder McCollum

1479 - Drive to Chacabuco
1480 - Drive to Chacabuco
1489 - Main Plaza of Chacabuco. Super green.
1490 - Cool looking Catholic chapel in Chacabuco
1491 - Statue in Chacabuco
1492 - Monument in Chacabuco
1494 - Elder Venecia and I in Chacabuco
1495 - ASADO (yum)
1497 -  Cooking asado - you can notice the fire to the right where the embers will come from
1503 - Diego and I

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